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Work-at-home mom: take a deep breath and Do Life Different as you allow these devotions for work-at-home moms to fill the vacuum of your needy heart in the chaos of your busy world.
 
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Archive for Jill’s Blog

Jun
17

Unconditional Positive Regard

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Brad Washburn, Do the Dad Thing bloggerSometimes people will ask me how I am effective as a counselor.  I wish they would ask with wide-eyed wonder, or awe, or with groveling and pawning like Wayne & Garth in Wayne’s World.

(Yes, I know some of you reading this have not seen the comedy classic of Wayne’s World.  If you watch it in response to this reference, e-mail me your personal review of the movie)

It would be nice if people came up and gushed:  “I heard that you were a ROCK STAR Counselor!  How do you do it?!”

But honestly, usually people don’t grovel or shout or throw roses . . .  they just want to know how to effectively help people when they share their problems.

There are several tricks that almost everyone could do that would ‘dupe’ even the most savvy person into thinking that you are a great counselor.  Here are two:

  1.  Listen (actively)
  2. Periodically prompt people to “Tell me more about that.”

Do those things well and you could pass yourself off as a counselor in the top 20% of counselors.  I’ll explain.   When you listen to people you are giving them a great gift.  You are helping them express themselves and work through issues in their own way.  You are ratifying their experience and showing them that they are important.  In counseling, we add the term “active” to show that listening isn’t just silently hearing a person; an “active listener” will stay engaged, periodically repeat what the other person said, share affirmations, and ask questions that are open.

Distressed person:  So, I was at Starbucks getting a drink.  I overheard a movie spoiler, and I was so startled, that I accidentally spilled my latte.

Active Listener:  Oh, my!  [nods head to indicate encouragement to continue]

Distressed Person:   I had just put in creamer, and hadn’t put the lid on yet.  Some of it splatted on my jeans!  It was a disaster!

Active Listener:  So, you put in creamer and it spilled on your jeans while the lid was off?  Wow, that was a disaster.

Distressed Person:  [Begins crying in anguish]

Active Listener:  Please tell me more about how you felt when this happened.

. . .  and . . . scene

That’s a ridiculous example of using the first two counseling skills in a way that would have someone think you are an actual ROCK STAR Counselor.  People love to feel like they are heard, and important.  I’ve seen people blossom and brighten, become a warm and engaging person, just by someone actively listening to them. Read More→

Jun
14

5 Ways to Run an Ethical Business

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Many companies often develop various guidelines for their employees to adhere to, which can range from social media policies to payroll and overtime procedures. However, few fail to establish an ethics policy, which clearly sets out a code of conduct for the brand and staff to adhere to each day.

If you want to create a policy of your own, here are five ways to run an ethical business.

 

  • Set Core Business Values

 

Core business values will set internal priorities for your brand and could help to set it apart from its rivals. After all, they will inform your target audience that you run a trustworthy business that takes responsibility for its decisions and actions.

The values you incorporate into your business are not only essential to your branding, but they will define corporate behavior that you expect your employees to embody.

 

  • Secure Consumer Data

 

Every business has a responsibility to protect consumers sensitive data, such as their:

  • Addresses
  • Bank and credit card information
  • Customer account numbers
  • Email addresses

Unfortunately, some organizations fail to take this legal obligation seriously. If you want to protect your consumers’ data, invest in a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate, which will encrypt all data between the customer and your web server. It can also prevent hackers from accessing the information.

As an SSL certificate will change a URL from HTTP to HTTPS, it can indicate to your visitors that their information will be protected when they use your website. Read More→

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Jun
05

And Then It Was Friday

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerLike many people, I try planning and arranging my week so I can accomplish as much as possible.

For example, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage on Monday morning hands me her “honey-do-list” to complete by the end of the week. When she hands it to me, I smile and underneath that list I have concealed from her my “to-do-list.”

It is not that I ignore her list… well, maybe I do. But, I don’t do it on purpose… well, maybe I do.

I have a priority with my “to-do-list” and most times forget about hers.

Through the years, I have become an expert at making excuses about why her “honey-do-list” has not been fully completed by me on time. If there is an excuse to be found anywhere in the room, I have it in my pocket.

Most of the time I get away with it. I am not bragging here, although I lean slightly in that direction. But I have my own things I need to do for the week.

If I do not write down my “to-do-list,” I will never remember what I am supposed to be doing. I have a good memory, but I am saving it for when I am older and I will need more memory. Of course, by that time I will forget everything I have remembered.

When it comes to memory, my wife beats the band. She remembers everything that has ever happened. Even those things that, from my opinion, never happened.

Quite often, she starts a conversation by saying, “Do you remember when…”

Then she goes on with a story that for the life of me I cannot remember. Instead of embarrassing myself, I go along with it and tell her, “Oh, yes I remember that.”

It is easier to go along than to cause any kind of friction. I have no advantage in contradicting any story that she might be telling. So far, I’ve gotten away with it, I’m happy to say.

That is, until once when telling a story she said, “Do you remember the name of that person?”

At the time, I did not know if it was a trick question to see if I am really paying attention or if she did not remember. I am going with the former because of all the years I have known her I cannot remember anything that she has ever forgotten.

Forgetting at times can be a blessing. If someone does something against you and hurts your feelings, the best thing to do is to move ahead and forget it. Read More→

Jun
03

4 Ways to Teach Kids Good Security Habits at Home

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There are no shortage of worries when you become a parent, but the majority of them boil down to one simple objective: keeping your child safe. As your child gets older and more independent, it is critical to teach your child how to keep himself safe when you are not around, both for his safety and your sanity. Here are a few ways to build those good habits.

Teach Your Child to Notice the Details

Encourage and nurture a mindful, observant attitude in your child. It’s all too easy to get caught up in our thoughts and overlook details that could be critical to your safety at home. Teach your child to pay attention to his surroundings and notice the details. One easy way to do this is by playing a game of “I Spy.” Draw your child’s attention to anything that is out of the ordinary, like a strange car parked by your home or a suspicious person passing out flyers in your neighborhood. Make vigilance a habit from an early age to keep your child aware of his surroundings at all times. For young children, read books that have a personal safety theme as an additional way to reinforce this topic.

Keep the Doors Locked

Lock the door behind you whenever you enter your home and teach your child to do the same. It doesn’t matter how safe you think your neighborhood is, an unlocked door is an invitation for unwelcome guests. By building the habit of locking the door immediately, you can decrease the instances of forgetting to lock up when you are in a hurry, consumed with other tasks on your to-do list. The sooner that you can help your child build this habit, the sooner you can feel a little more confident about your child being at home alone when that time comes. Read More→

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May
29

Finding “Good” In Our World Is Challenging

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerSmile Post-itIn our world today, it is difficult to find anything good, let alone anything good to say about anything or anyone.

One thing I like about the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage is that she can find some good in just about everything. Sometimes it just rubs me the wrong way.

I, on the other hand, have a hard time finding good in anything even though I try so hard. That just demonstrates the difference between us. They say opposites attract, and so we have a very strong attraction here.

For the most part, I go along with her evaluation of “Good” because she has been right more times than wrong. Don’t ask me when she has been wrong, for that would be a very delicate subject and I am not a very delicate person.

One area of life I have a very difficult time finding anything good is politics. I stay completely away from politics as much as possible. Oh yes, there have been those times that I greedily rubbed my hands and wanted to jump into that cesspool. Thankfully, I do have a little bit of common sense still lurking around in my head and refrain.

The question I ponder quite often is, if you put all the politicians together in one room could you find one little gray cell active? Perhaps the cost of being a politician is to give up all those tiny little gray cells that make the rest of us operate in a world of sanity.

I try not to go any further than that, because I cannot trust myself once I get started on the trail. As a young boy, I had a beagle I used to hunt rabbits. You’ve heard of the old rabbit trail. Once “Sparky” got on a rabbit trail he was never going to give up. There were times when I lost him for several hours while he was running that rabbit trail. He did not know how to give up.

I do not want to get involved in that kind of activity. If I do not start it, I do not have the compulsion to end it. It is like me and potato chips. If I eat one chip, I can’t stop until all are gone. If I do not eat one, I do not have any problem.

So, as much as is humanly possible, I stay away from politics.

One evening this past week my wife and I were watching the news and the whole thing was about politics. As for me, when they say Washington is broken, I know they really mean that the politicians are broken. In fact, they are broken beyond repair.

However, as we were watching the news I was getting a little ticked. I was grumbling about everything I was hearing, knowing a politician will say one thing today and the complete opposite tomorrow. That is because there is nothing in their brain cavity to create stability.

For some reason, I started grouching out loud. It is one thing to grouch and not express it out loud. It’s a whole other ball game when I grouch out loud because my wife can hear me. As I was groaning and gritting my teeth my wife said, “You know, you ought to be very grateful about those politicians.”

Oh boy, here we go. I crossed a line somewhere and was not sure how to get back home.

My wife is not afraid to express her opinion about anything. That includes politics and politicians. I was trying to process this idea of being grateful about politicians. I could not come up with one idea that would lead me to a point of being grateful about politicians.

I knew I needed to keep my mouth shut at this point. If I would express any ideas along this line, I know my wife, as usual, would have the last word. Read More→

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May
28

MOPS is Going to the Dogs

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Brad Washburn, Do the Dad Thing bloggerI got fired by MOPS.

The local Mothers OPreschoolers group that meets at our church asked me to speak this week about technology regarding kids.  Then, I was told that a local female psychologist asked to speak on the topic this week . . . so I got bumped.

I was replaced by a female.  Gender discrimination is REAL people.

This is just online kidding.  They were really nice about it and I understand that I am, in fact, a dude.  I have a great respect for the MOPS organization. After our first son was born, we moved to a new area.  My wife was in a new community with no real family connection. She was depressed. The local MOPS group gave her hope.  They gave her connection. They gave her a reason to take a shower and put on pants each week.

Anyway, I had prepared a whole talk on technology for kids, so I really don’t want it to go to waste; so you guys get to be the MOPS group today — and the information is definitely good for Dads too (technology doesn’t just apply to Moms).

I was going to start out the talk highlighting the overall negative reputation of kids having technology — but my goal isn’t to land there.  We can gripe and complain, and lock our kids away in Amish communes, but technology is a reality that we have to face. But here are some of the negative statistics related to kids and ‘screen time.’

·         Tweens spend less time outside than prisoners

–Kids spend twice as long playing on screens as they do playing outside.

–3-in-4 kids spend less than 60 minutes playing outside each day.

–1-in-5 kids don’t play outside at all on a typical day.

–3-in-4 parents said their kids often refuse to play games without some form of technology.

  • Teens are expressing higher rates of depression and loneliness the more time they spend on their phones, despite claims by 81 percent of teens that phones make them “feel” more connected.
  • There is mounting evidence linking screen time to with obesity.

So . . .  Technology = Bad. –But I’m not going to beat that drum.   Instead I’m going to prompt you to ask yourselves, ‘Have you ever met at kid that didn’t interact with technology?’  That’s right; think about it for a moment. A kid that didn’t know about technology would be a social outcast and pariah among their peers.

Social interaction and peer pressure aren’t a great reason to embrace technology.  However, I could give statistics on how there is a benefit to different forms of tech and educational value on a worldwide scale is available to all genders and socioeconomic groups . . . but my main argument is that technology is a reality that is not going away.

I think the way you treat technology related to your kids is important.  This might call for an analogy . . .

Let’s imagine that your family adopted a wild timber wolf from the forests of Yellowstone.  Food has been scarce in the area, so the wolf comes to you already malnourished and hungry. It needs to be kept in your house until the environment improves.

Yikes! What would you do?  Well, you’d need a plan.

And that’s pretty much the summary of all my technology advice for your family; make a plan and make a goal.

Just like having a wolf in your home, safety would be the number one priority.  For media and technology use, this is no different. Internet safety is a popular topic and there are lots of good ideas to google.

Instead of safety, I’m going to focus on training your wolf (i.e. technology) so that it’s well-behaved and works for you.

Read More→

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May
27

Celebrating Memorial Day

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I have never been able to think of the day as one of mourning; I have never quite been able to feel that half-masted flags were appropriate on Decoration Day. I have rather felt that the flag should be at the peak, because those whose dying we commemorate rejoiced in seeing it where their valor placed it. We honor them in a joyous, thankful, triumphant commemoration of what they did.

– Benjamin Harrison

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May
24

Lazy Does Have Its Advantages

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerAs a young boy, my father tried drilling into my brain that laziness was not acceptable in his house. If I wanted to be lazy, I had to go outside. He provided a wonderful role model for me because if my father was anything, he was not lazy. He tried to encourage me not to be lazy.

Laziness, according to him, was an attack on common decency and energy. After all these years, I have tried to live up to his standard. And yet, I must confess that I have found that laziness may have an advantage or two. I’m leaning towards the two.

It was my fortune to marry a young lady who did not have an inkling of laziness in any of her bones. I thought when I first married her; she was trying to impress me with how active she was and how much she could get done. I have discovered, however, that that certainly was not the case. Laziness and she have never met as far as I understand it.

I have tried not to be lazy and to a certain extent, I have succeeded. However, as I get older I begin to appreciate the opportunity of laziness. It does not have the bad connotation I was taught down through the years.

Everything has its good side and its bad side. The great joy of life is trying to find the good side in everything. This includes laziness. Anybody can point out the bad side to laziness, but it takes a genius to discover the good side of laziness. I am not pretending to be that genius, but I can say that I have discovered a good side to laziness.

The good side of laziness occurred to me recently. My wife loves to put together “Honey-Do-Lists” for her husband. That would be me, of course.

Let me say that just because it’s called a “Honey-Do-Lists” does not mean that there is any sweetness to it. In fact, from my own personal experience I have yet to find any sweetness in that activity. I call it an activity because I am supposed to actively do everything on that list.

It was a Monday morning and as usual, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage handed to me her weekly “Honey-Do-List.” As usual, the list was quite long and in great detail.

“Make sure,” she said rather seriously, “that you do everything on that list as soon as possible.”

One of the things I have often wanted to ask my wife is what is her meaning of “as soon as possible”? It seems that I have not the faintest idea of what it really means. As a well-seasoned husband, I smile most graciously as she hands me that list and say, “Yes, dear.” Her list comes as close to a novel as anything she does.

It takes several days for me to read that list and try to understand what I am supposed to do with it. But, with my experience, I do the best I can and there have been several times, not many, that I have finished her list to the last point.

It was about Thursday when I was going over the list and saw several things that had not been checked off. I sighed very deeply, and with determination planned to get back in the saddle again. I find it very hard to juggle what I want to do with her “Honey-Do-List.” It is always a struggle because I know I have to do her list, but in my mind, I really want to do my list.

I was drinking some coffee and looking over this list to see what my next assignment was. At that time, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage came into the room and said, “Did you do the 12th item on my list?”

At the time, I was a little startled because I did not know what she was getting at. I did not know if this was a quiz or if I was being evaluated by my work. I was a little concerned because there were some little nuggets of lazy that had peppered my week up to this point.

Looking at her I said, “No, I haven’t got to number 12 yet. I’m still working on number 10.”

She sighed such a deep sigh of relief that it frightened me a little. I was afraid if I said I had not accomplished number 12 I would be in serious trouble. After all, it was on the list and I was supposed to do everything on the list.

“I’m so glad you didn’t do that. It was my mistake and I would’ve been in serious trouble had you done it.” Read More→

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May
20

3 Crucial Online Safety Habits to Teach Your Kids

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As a loving and devoted mom, it goes without saying that you want your kids to be as safe as possible, 24/7/365. But as they begin doing more activities on their own, with less supervision from you, you’re left feeling like you are constantly walking on a tightrope. You’re balancing your kids’ budding independence with your desire to make sure they are okay.

A classic example of this tightrope act is when your kids are on the internet. While you understand that they need and want to go online to research school assignments, to watch videos on YouTube, shows on Netflix and play online games, you also know there are many dangers that can pop up when surfing the web.

In order to be sure your kids stay as safe as possible when they are online, teach them the following habits:

Be Very Careful When Purchasing a Game or Add-Ons

Many video games can be purchased online and then played on either a computer, handheld device or on a game system. Although there are plenty of reputable sites like Steam that sell games, there could be fake websites that claim to offer games but really just want to get a hold of your account info.

To avoid having your credit card number fall into cybercriminals’ hands, let your kids know that you have to approve all online game purchases and in-game add-ons. It is not enough for them to call out “Hey Mom, I need to borrow your debit card to buy a game for $10 and I’ll pay you back out of my allowance.” Have your tweens show you the game they want to buy and make sure it is from a reputable site; while you are at it, teach them that if they see a pop-up ad about buying a game, they should avoid these offers like the plague.

You should also keep a sharp eye on your bank and credit card statements and watch for charges that you don’t recognize. As a backup, it’s wise to invest in an ID theft protection plan. This way, if your kids accidentally purchase a game from a bogus site, you will be immediately alerted about any fraudulent activity on your account.

Never Reveal Personal Information Online

Internet access comes with a number of risks including online predators. These creeps are well aware of which apps and websites tweens and teens like to use, and may pose as a peer who is lonely and looking for new friends. To help your kids avoid these unsavory individuals, tell them that not everyone they encounter online is who they claim to be, and that sharing any type of personal information like your address, their phone number or what school they go to is strictly forbidden. You can also look into getting parental control software like Qustodio that can block access to certain sites and show you who your kiddos are communicating with online.

Teach Them to Post Only What They Would Want Grandma to See

As your kids get older and start using social media sites like Instagram and Snapchat, they may be encouraged by the enthusiastic responses they get to the photos of your family dog to post and share more and more pics and info. Sit down with your kids and show them how easily you can find information about total strangers on a social media site, either by following people you don’t know on Instagram or checking out random pages on Facebook. Make it a rule that your teens must keep their social media pages private and to be very careful about what they post. Despite vigilance, it is still possible for your kids’ pics and posts to get into the wrong hands, according to experts at GCFGlobal. Advise them that they should only put something online that they would be proud for their Grandma to see.

Don’t Worry Mom, You’ve Got This

Hopefully, all of your kids’ experiences online will be positive. But it’s also important to teach them about the risks without completely scaring them. With a solid combo of some firm rules about internet use, combined with an identity theft program and some parental controls, you can feel better about your kids being online and their safety.

 

 

 

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May
17

101 Tips to Help Your Budget (and YOU) at Home – #100 & 101

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101 Ways to Help Your Budget and You at Home

 

100. Cut Out Haircuts
Now, we don’t want to go crazy here and have everyone running around with long shaggy hair, but it is possible to cut out expensive haircuts. You can, of course, choose to grow your hair out. Or you can purchase an inexpensive haircutting kit (such as this one on Amazon) and do cropped haircuts (both my son and husband allow me to cut their hair this way).

 

101. Reuse Old Stuff
In the end, one of the simplest ways to save money is to not buy new stuff. Find creative and useful ways to reuse what you already have. For instance, create tennis racket mirrors, candy themed pouches and even trash can tables.

 

Read the entire series here!

 

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